The leader of Italy’s far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, has sparked debate by saying that the unprecedented sanctions the West had imposed on Russia over the Ukraine invasion weren’t working.
“Several months have passed and people are paying two, three, even four times more for their bills,” he told Rtl radio. “And after seven months, the war continues and Russian Federation coffers are filling with money.
“Are the sanctions working? No. Today, those who have been sanctioned are winners and those who put the sanctions in place are on their knees,” he tweeted the day earlier.
“It’s evident that someone in Europe has made a bad calculation. It is essential to rethink the strategy to save jobs and businesses in Italy,” he said.
Skyrocketing energy prices since the start of the war in Ukraine have wreaked economic pain on countries in the European Union which before the war had been reliant on Russia for a large chunk of its gas supplies.
Following Salvini’s comments, Enrico Letta, leader of the Democratic Party and one of his main adversaries ahead of parliamentary elections on September 25 retorted on Twitter: “I think (Russian President Vladimir) Putin couldn’t have said it better.”
The leaders of Italy’s main parties were due to speak later on Sunday at a debate.